Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Searching for that dewy, glowy look? Benefit High Beam has you covered!

Benefit High Beam ($24.00) is a liquid highlighter that comes in a small bottle. Twist the cap and you’ll see a brush applicator–all in all, the packaging and application system looks very much like nail polish. I’ve found the best application method is to take the brush and dot it on the areas you want to highlight. I usually dotted two or three small-sized dots on my cheek bones, and then I blended it in with MAC’s 188 brush.

High Beam can act as a highlighter or illuminizer, which makes it a great, multi-tasking product to keep in your makeup bag. (Because of the packaging, it also makes a nice travel companion!) To use it as an illuminizer, mix a drop or two with your favorite foundation or moisturizer and apply all over to face. If you’ve used Strobe Cream, it’s kind of like that, but you’re able to mix to your desired level of lumination. As a highlighter, you use it on the traditional areas where you’d want light to reflect off your face (cheek bones, forehead, nose, chin, and so on). You can also use this on your brow bone — it is especially nice when you’re just wearing mascara, because it helps to brighten and wake-up tired eyes with minimal effort.

The best part about High Beam is that it isn’t noticeable that you’re wearing makeup. It’s subtle, soft, and has just this beautiful dewy, glowy finish that looks incredibly natural and yet adds so much more to your complexion. It doesn’t look or feel like a typical shimmery highlighter; it feels more like a radiant highlighter, where the luminous feel comes from a soft sheen instead of sparkles or glitter. I’ve had both my mom (older than me) and sister (deeper skintone) try this, and it looked equally lovely on them.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you love dewy skin and are looking for a new highlighting option, consider Benefit High Beam. The product itself is high-quality, they give you plenty of it, and it’s fairly easy to use. The packaging is functional and cute, though the applicator system could use improvement. Overall, it’s a solid product and worth purchasing.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com, Sephora.com

Have you tried Benefit’s High Beam? Yay or nay?

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009


Indigo Paris Le Vernis

Lancome’s Declaring Indigo Collection continues to impress with two more items that deserve their own post.

Indigo Paris Le Vernis ($18.00) is just one of those shades of lacquer that instantly captures your attention, and there’s really no denying how stunning the color is. It’s a rich, deep-dark blue with lighter blue and silver shimmer laced throughout the base color. In low-light conditions, it appears like a semi-glossy dark, navy blue. When the light hits it, all of the shimmer sparkles and glimmers. Beyond being gorgeous, it is also incredibly well-suited for the fall season. When I swatched Indigo Paris, I was too excited to bother with a base, and I forgot to take it off–four days and no chipping and only minor tip wear. Without a base! Lancome’s formula is thick, opaque, and easy to use. Two medium-thick coats of polish will give you shimmering, deep water-blue tips in no time flat.

Another standout product amongst the line-up was La Rose Liberte ($40.00), which is an exclusive, limited-edition highlighting bronzer with an embossed rose design. The rose itself begins as white, but it quickly fades upon first swatch. Luckily, it really is ornamental, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the highlighter itself–who likes colors that don’t go all the way through when they’re actually vital to the compact’s color? Not me! Since that’s not the case here, La Rose Liberte is a soft, shimmery shade of gold with bronzy bits. I personally thought it was gorgeous, though since I’m warm-toned, the color suits me extremely well. I don’t think it is so warm as to be impossible to use for cooler skin-tones, but I’d advise checking it out in person if you are particularly cool.

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Tuesday, July 7th, 2009


Warmth Glow n’ Bronzer

2nd Love Baked Powders Collection: Glow n’ Bronzers

There are three Glow n’ Bronzers to choose from, and each one contains four strips of color. You could likely use each one individually to highlight or use on eyes, but as a blush/bronzer, it is most practical to use all four together (“swirled”). The Glow n’ Bronzers ($15.00 each for 16.1 g/0.57 oz.) are very much like the Marble Blushes. Each strip is soft, smooth, and has good pigmentation. These also wear well and last me most of the day–or as long as I needed it to! Like the Marble Blushes, these give a soft sheen rather than chunky glitter or shimmer particles, so if you’ve found other baked products too shimmery, these might be more your cup of tea.

  • Warmth contains four strips of color: pale white-beige, neutral brown with pink undertones, soft, pale pink, and bronze. When swirled together, you get a soft, bronzy-pink shade. I’d see this working well on paler skin tones.
  • Sun Kissed contains four strips of color: light beige with pink, soft orange, taupe-y bronze, and warm bronze. I will caution that my swatches are a bit misleading on this one, only because some of it is so similar to my skin tone, so on paler complexions, you’d definitely see a bit more bang for your buck. On the other hand, this one works extremely well with my coloring, because it looks very natural and definitely gives me a “sunkissed” look. Swirled together, you’ll see a soft, coppeyr-bronze shade with soft gold sheen.
  • Toasted contains four strips of color: taupe-brown with pink, pale ivory-beige, soft golden peach, and rich copper. When used together, the colors come together to create a soft golden sheen. On me, it looks more like a highlighter more so than a bronzer.

Compared to MAC: I’d say these are most like MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes (particularly the limited edition releases from Brunette, Blonde, Redhead, since those, too, had strips of color). Again, these are cheaper at $15.00 for 16.1g/0.57 oz. compared to MAC at $27.00 for 10g/0.35 oz. MAC also offers a larger variety on types of mineralize skinfinishes, since some are blushers, while others can bronze your skin and still others are highlighters. MAC’s tend to be swirled/marbled rather than with strips, too. One thing I noticed is that when I swirled MAC mineralize skinfinishes together (from BBR), the strips didn’t mix so much. With the 2nd Love Glow n’ Bronzers, when you mix them, you can kind of see that you did that. You can dust everything off and it’s all as it should be, though. When you use a brush, this effect is extremely minimized; it is more pronounced when you use sponges/fingers.

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Saturday, July 4th, 2009


Eyeshadows: #5

Let’s dive into some of Make Up For Ever’s orange and yellow eyeshadows! Personally, I skipped on some of the more intense, straight yellows, just because I tend not to look good in those shades (Chrome Yellow, anyone?), so I need more time to swatch and play with them in person before getting any of those.

  • #5 is a matte orange-coral. Smooth, pigmented, and easy to use, #5 is quickly becoming a favorite. It’s nice on the eyes, but I love it as a blush. Just be careful, because a little goes a long way, and it’s better to build up than buff out.
  • #10 is a shimmery, true golden yellow. This is the equivalent of Goldmine eyeshadow with a little less orange and less frostiness.
  • #153 is a peachy-orange shade with gold shimmer. When I saw it at IMATS, it reminded me of a deeper MAC Say Yeah eyeshadow (which was limited edition, and I also adore it!). It is definitely similar, but it is a bit more intense. I love this to highlight cheeks on top of #5. It just gives it a nice glow and softness. This also works well on the eyes, too.  And if #5 is a new blush favorite, #153 is a new cheek highlighting favorite.
  • #102 is a matte, pale beige-y color (or off-white, if you prefer). They describe it as “eggshell,” and it’s a rather apt description. It makes for a good neutral matte highlighter when you may already have frost overkill on the eyes.
  • #101 is a soft, pale white-gold with pale gold shimmer. Of the shadows I’ve really worked with so far, this is one of the few that has been more disappointing. I find the pay off to be a bit glittery/chunky and not smooth like I’ve come to expect from the brand. It also seems to be the same when used in application, too. I thought I’d use it as a nice highlighter, but it doesn’t work well for that purpose either.

Which of these are your favorites?

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Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick for Body ($75.00) is new for Summer 2009. It’s the same concept and has the same texture/feel/look of the traditional (and popular) shimmer bricks. There’s just one difference — it’s seems huge. I don’t know necessarily if I’d say it’s $75.00 huge, but it is extremely large in comparison to the normal shimmer bricks. I thought I’d review this today, because of Bobbi Brown’s Summer Sale – get 25% off automatically applied to your order from today until June 11th — it brings this body shimmer brick down to just over $50.

It contains 0.5 oz./15 grams of product, whereas a normal shimmer brick contains 0.4 oz./10.3 grams. I like to see how much you’re really paying for things. After a little math, I found with the body shimmer brick, you’re paying $5.00 per gram. The regular shimmer brick is only $3.89 per gram. So even though the size of the body shimmer brick seems like twice the size of a regular shimmer brick, the actual product quantity is only slightly more. From what I can tell, I think the body shimmer brick might be most similar to the Beige Shimmer Brick. One thing I do like that is different between the two is that if you have a good body brush (I love MAC’s 179), there’s a lot of surface area to use. It’s not a small compact, so you do have more room to work with. Bobbi Brown does have a limited edition All Over Body Brush ($85.00) designed for the Shimmer Brick for Body, but I haven’t tested it yet, so I can’t weigh in.

The color of the Body Shimmer Brick is a soft golden-bronze shade. It’s just as frosty as regular shimmer bricks, but I think the shimmer is more downplayed when used on shoulders and decolletage. I do like the product, and I think it is excellent for adding a little extra oomph before going out at night! I know some of you are shimmer brick fanatics, so I hope you enjoy this one, too!

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

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Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Benefit 10 Powder ($28.00) is a combination highlighter and bronzing duo. If you’ve seen Benefit’s other powders like CORALista or Dandelion, it’s the same idea, but the powder is split in half — half is a bronzer, half is a highlighter. The highlighter is a light, milky silvery-pink with soft sheen but no real glitter particles (that’s a good thing, by the way). The bronzer is similar in texture and sheen, except it’s a peachy-bronze color with gold sheen. You can see how I used it in a look here.

10 is one of those products that takes some trial and error before you can appreciate its genius. Once you do get the hang of it, though, it is a grab-and-go kind of experience. I personally used the 168 and 169 respectively for this product, and I found it worked just right for me. I do suggest using a light hand initially, so you don’t over-do it or get a ruddy/muddy result. The highlighter is just that–a highlighter–so unless you are extremely fair, don’t go into it expecting to use it as a pink blush!

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